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Can Untreated Sleep Apnea Lead to Fatal Consequences?

November 4, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — drromack @ 9:04 pm
a patient struggling to sleep at night

Each night, millions of people miss out on countless hours of sleep due to sleep apnea; in fact, it’s estimated that it affects around 40 million adults in the US alone! If you suffer from the condition, you might’ve been told you’re prone to snoring, and you might also experience symptoms like daytime fatigue, poor memory, irritability, and mood swings. But sleep apnea won’t just make you tired and cranky—if left untreated, it can even have potentially fatal consequences! Continue reading to learn more about this condition and some of the risks it carries, along with how it can be treated with the help of your sleep dentist.

What Exactly Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects around 40 million US adults, making it a very widespread condition. One of the most common forms of the condition, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), involves blockage of the patient’s airway during sleep. This is often caused by the collapse of the soft tissues within the throat, which can result from all kinds of factors.  Patients affected by sleep apnea aren’t able to remain asleep at night since they’re forced to wake up to normalize their breathing. This means they can’t achieve deep sleep and obtain any of its restorative benefits.

Can Sleep Apnea Be Treated?

The first part of treating sleep apnea is knowing the signs; symptoms like chronic snoring, gasping for air during the night, and frequent daytime fatigue are just a few of the telltale signs. You’ll need a proper diagnosis from a sleep specialist before you can undergo treatment; however, once diagnosed, options like oral appliance therapy and regular CPAP machine usage are notably effective. Additional behavioral and lifestyle changes can also be considered to assist with symptoms, but professional treatment will always be the best option.

Can Untreated Sleep Apnea Have Fatal Consequences?

Health experts believe that obstructive sleep apnea can contribute to various ailments and conditions, including:

·        High blood pressure – OSA can worsen blood pressure due to lowered oxygen levels at night, changes in hormones, and an activated nervous system.

·        Diabetes – People with OSA are at a heightened risk of developing diabetes; this is also linked to an increased risk of resistance to insulin.

·        Pulmonary hypertension – Over time, breathing disruptions can change the structure of the blood vessels in the lungs. This results in heightened blood pressure in the arteries between the heart and lungs.

·        Abnormal heart rhythms – Also called heart arrhythmias, abnormal heart rhythms can result from the lowered oxygen levels linked to sleep apnea.

·        Stroke – Untreated sleep apnea also increases the chances of stroke, due to a wide variety of factors.

The bottom line is that while sleep apnea won’t outright prove fatal, if untreated, it can pose some pretty significant health risks that can threaten your life. It also isn’t a condition that you must needlessly suffer from; seeking professional help is certain to get you back to sleeping soundly and waking up feeling great!

About the Practice

Under the leadership of Dr. Deborah A. Romack, the talented team at Weatherford Dental Sleep Medicine has proudly served patients in the Weatherford community for several years. They’re excited to offer a wide range of services with the intent of managing and resolving sleep disorders and their symptoms. If you have any questions about the blog or you’d like to arrange a visit, you can contact the practice online or by phone for assistance. Telephone: (817) 594-3806.

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114 W Columbia St., Weatherford, TX 76086 USA
Deborah A. Romack, DDS Weatherford, TX dentist providing sleep apnea therapy. (817) 594-3806